A detailed analysis of Brooks’s “Sadie and Maud,” a poem which protests against the stereotyping of African-American women. Much of the handout is an explication essay, in which blanks have been left for students to provide answers to practical exercises dealing with explicating poems. For instance, they will find examples of symbolism, alliteration, metaphors, and rhyme schemes in “Sadie and Maud,” as well as examine its themes, structure, and metrics. The purpose of these exercises is to reveal to students how Brooks coalesces all of these poetic elements to make “Sadie and Maud” a brilliant poem.
Additionally, the explication essay is designed to provide a model which your students can use in their own essays in which the assignment calls for them to explicate any short poem. In the answer key section relating to metrics I have provided some helpful steps for teachers to follow in explaining how to scan a poem, admittedly a difficult area for students (and even some teachers).
This handout may be used as a homework assignment or an in-class activity. An answer key is provided on two separate pages at the end of the handout.
Prepared by Professor William Tarvin, Ph.D., who has published many articles on literature in scholarly journals.